(Originally posted 8/25/2017 on Read With The Gringa)
Malcolm gets a new job and fondly remembers his favorite dancing partner.
Image Credit: Wikimedia
(Originally posted 8/17/2017 on Read With The Gringa)
In response to the tragedy of an innocent American woman being murdered, live, on TV, by a neo-Nazi, our President’s response was first lukewarm, then robotic-ly obedient to a written statement crafted by others wiser than he, and then, finally, Trump’s true feelings. He declared that neo-Nazi’s are nice guys. He declared that such nice guys were only pushed to commit murder by the actions of an opposition that was doing exactly what they were doing, exercising their 1st Amendment rights.
But, Mr. President, the existence or non-existence of a permit for a rally does not matter when it comes to culpability for murder. How do the baseball bats of the opposition compare to the guns brought by white supremacist terrorists? Surely you jest. I mean, come on, remember that old saying about bringing a knife to a gun fight?
Mr. President, there was only one side that committed murder. And, in light of information gleaned from neo-Nazi websites, murder by car was not the frantic response of a startled neo-Nazi driver. For some time these terrorists have been encouraging one another online to kill protesters en masse by vehicular homicide. Chat threads exist between white supremacist terrorists trying to figure out the best plan of action to kill the most people, yet escape apprehension.
Mr. President, you are not just supporting terrorists who have killed a single American. You are supporting several organizations of white supremacy terrorists who are plotting mass murder on a wide scale, across the United States and aimed at exterminating their chosen victim classes: anyone of the opposition. Considering your most recent polling numbers, that seems to be about two-thirds of the American population. So it can then be argued that what you are supporting is a plan of genocide of the American people.
My analysis of the potential danger is not outrageous. The FBI has declared white supremacy ideology a serious domestic terror threat. Even more dangerous of a threat than ISIS. Sure, the FBI declares some radical left wing groups as terrorist as well. But it is only white supremacy terrorism that has killed more Americans than any other ideology. This based on the FBI’s decades of research, surveillance and data collection. And it has certainly killed millions across Europe (like more than 50 million). Yet you rejected the warnings from legislators and intelligence communities explaining this very serious terrorism threat from white supremacy terror cells.
Well, Mr. President, since you have declared that there are two sides to this problem, I have taken the initiative and chosen my “side”. I stand on the right side of history, rather than on the side of alt-right. I stand on the side of my grandfather’s legacy. What might that side be, Mr. President? Please allow me to clarify by first asking a few questions about the white supremacy terror legacy left to you by your father, a KKK klansman:
Who do white supremacist terrorists think they are taking their country back from? The descendants of American patriots willing to give the ultimate sacrifice as Nazi killers in World War II? Wasn’t the sacrifice of these patriots to save our nation from the un-American, anti-freedom ideology of white supremacy? Wasn’t the point of American patriot sacrifice to prevent this ideology from reaching our shores and EXTERMINATING Americans who were non-white, non-Christian, non-heterosexual, medically disabled and feminist?
Another little conundrum for you, Mr. President. You know your Russian friends? Yeah. It was with the help of Russian Communists that our patriotic American WWII veterans kicked the Nazis ass. Now isn’t that ironic. You now find yourself playing with two teams that were once enemies, and probably still are. And it seems that you have chosen the side of losers.
What was that thing you said about not respecting losers? Well, the racist base you are leaning on? Their ideology is the biggest loser of all. They lost WWII. They lost the Civil War. And they have lost you the rest of America. The majority. At least 60%.
Mr. President, there is nothing for your racist base to take back. This great country was never their’s to begin with. They tried once before in the mid 1800’s but America kicked the Confederacy’s ass then. And white supremacists got their asses kicked by the entire world less than a century later. And we can do it again now. You and your racist base cannot have the country my grandfather fought to protect. I plan to preserve his legacy of freedom for ALL. But go ahead and bring your fire. Try to take it from me if you think you can.
If you are a dear reader of the gringa’s musings, then you are probably a fan of science and technology. That would also mean it’s highly likely that you find “gadgets” and inventions interesting. Pretty much everyone knows that Benjamin Franklin gets credit for discovering electricity and Edison with inventing the light bulb. But what we think we know about inventors might just be all wrong or sorely lacking. Have you heard of any of these folks:
Garrett Morgan: Curly headed folk everywhere owe a word of thanks to Mr. Morgan for inventing the first hair-straightening product. Seamstresses may not be aware that he holds a patent on sewing machine upgrades. And if you are fond of avoiding fender benders, a round of applause to the inventor of our modern traffic signals. Survivors of WWII are probably very familiar with, perhaps, his greatest contribution to mankind, the gas mask. So, thanks, Garrett Morgan, a great American inventor!
Mary Phelps Jacobs: The gringa’s not so sure she really wants to say thank you to good, ol’, clever Mary. On the one hand she did rescue women from having to wear torturous corsets by inventing the modern bra-contraption. But, as far as the gringa’s concerned, a bra only minimizes the torture, not really doing away with physical discomfort altogether. But, for the early 1900s, an uncomfortable bra was certainly a liberating invention. About the only thing the gringa is willing to stuff her girls into is a spandex sports bra. Anything else is just cruel and my motto is, “No pain, no pain!”
Dr. Charles Drew: An African-American surgeon responded to the desperate need for plasma and blood to save the lives of soldiers during WWII. He is credited with inventing the technology of what we commonly call a “blood bank”.
Stephanie Kwolek: When you imagine soldiers or law enforcement officers donning their bullet-proof vests, it may never occur to you to wonder who came up with such an idea. And, if you did indulge your curiosity, chances are you wouldn’t guess that it was actually a woman who invented Kevlar. It would seem more likely that men within the military establishment would come up with this. But, back in 1965, a female chemist rolled out her formula that resulted in the invention of an essential piece of safety gear that protects soldiers and police officers everywhere.
So, dear readers, no matter who you are or what your humble situation might be, keep cracking away in your labs. The world NEEDS amazing minds like yours and the gadgets and gizmos you create!
Sources, Image & Video Credits:
Join your fellow Americans who are standing in solidarity against fear and divisive tactics from the Trump administration. We are the home of the BRAVE. We will not cower in reactionary fear, rejecting the principles that make America GREAT. Brave Americans, rally together at the Intercontinental Airport Houston (IAH), Terminal E and RESIST Trump’s attack on Muslims. An attack on one group is an attack on all for it is only the beginning. Allow the conditioning of acceptance and the next group will be even easier for the administration to attack. We must RESIST and preserve that which makes America GREAT… Courage to co-exist peacefully in diversity and to stand together when a group of brothers or sisters is singled out for acts of oppression and terror.
Indivisible Houston has organized the Rally Against Hate, 2800 N. Terminal Road, Houston, TX 77032. Gather at Terminal E of the IAH from 5-8pm. Here is their message to Americans and guests to our country who wish to stand united against hate:
Donald Trump has targeted Muslims through a backdoor ban on immigration from specified countries. Americans are rallying across this country to stand up to injustice and to demonstrate that we will not put up with the degradation of American rights in front of our own eyes.
When history looks back on this moment- on this weekend following Holocaust Remembrance Day- let the record show that we were there. That Houston was there.
That America was there.
Meet us EAST OF LEE ROAD at Will Clayton Parkway for action. Carpool or uber if at all possible.
If you are attending the Discovery Green event at 1-4, you may be able to easily coordinate rides from that location.
Thank you for exercising your rights… and solidarity.
The gringa hopes to see you there!
Image Credit: Indivisible Houston
Has the gringa’s dear readers viewed the video depicting the future of clothing? Interactive clothing designed by Behnaz Farahi, called “Caress of the Gaze”, is the most erotically fascinating thing the gringa believes she has ever seen where the latest technology is concerned. I was mesmerized.
Created from a “semi-flexible mesh” that is interlaced with “muscle wire”, the fabric’s responsive movement is controlled by a hidden camera that detects where observers are focusing their gaze. For young lovers of technology who happen to be fashion divas, it seems that the future of fashion design will also require strength in STEM studies. As cool as this is, what purpose could such clothing actually do other than make for a real hot date experience?
Gender recognition is one future purpose. Scientists who study evolutionary markers in humans theorize that eventually Earthlings will evolve to an androgynous, gender neutral appearance. Clothing, then, might help romantic hopefuls identify the gender of promising prospects. Post-genderism is a social, as well as a political, movement. Women discovered long ago that masculinizing (is that even a word?) their appearance was necessary to challenge issues of equality. As gender based inequality became a subject of scholarly studies and society has become more aware and inclusive of people with different ideas of gender altogether, evolving to a society where gender is removed from the appearance of humans seems to be the trend.
Since 2014 the fashion industry has actively been generating ambisexual clothing lines that are appealing to a generation of Earthlings who don’t care if a person is male or female, or considers themselves both or neither. Post-gender fashion means that men wearing skirts (not just kilts) is just as acceptable as women wearing pants. Truly, that is equality. Women have been screaming about equality for decades. Women have demanded to be able to wear pants if we want. The pantsuit is the icon of power executive wear for women. Now it is time to stop practicing a double standard and let men wear skirts with dignity.
In addition to helping a post-gender society recognize who is what, the fabric could also be adapted for defense purposes. The gringa hates the reality that there will always be those who take anything that is developed for social good and finds a way to make a more efficient method of killing people. But, face it folks, minds like that are not going away anytime soon. The gringa finds it highly likely for technology such as this to be further developed to create clothing that can be used by military folk and law enforcement personnel to cloak soldiers and agents, helping them blend in and become virtually invisible to the eyes of their opponents. Who knows, some unsuspecting counterfeiter may not notice that sitting in a quiet corner of his room is an FBI agent in the deepest cover imaginable. It could create a whole new meaning to the phrase “undercover agent”.
The gringa just wants to have an interesting date night with the caveman. I would like one hot mess of a dress made out of this fabric. The gringa would much rather make love, not war.
Image Credit: rackcdn.com
The good guy/bad guy narrative is a literary classic. It seems rooted in religious beliefs of good and evil and non-religious esoteric beliefs of Yin & Yang. For every good guy there seems to be a universal need for a counterbalancing bad guy. Is this realistic? Is this necessary? The gringa would like to believe that bad guys and evil are simply obsolete. I mean, haven’t we reached that point yet in the evolution of humanity that we don’t need the contrast of the bad in order to recognize and appreciate what is good? And if we are basing our good guy/bad guy theory on ancient teachings that use real world examples of good and evil, what if those past histories are incorrect? After all, aren’t historical records always skewed according to the perspective of the author, whether they be the victor or the vanquished?
Take, for example, one of the earliest examples of good guy/bad guy: Egypt and the ancient Israelites. According to the religious teachings of Judaism and Christianity, it is widely accepted that the Egyptians were the “bad guys”, enslaving the Hebrew people who were eventually chosen by God to be the “good guys”. However, historians and archaeologists who specialize in Egyptian history, not to mention Egyptians themselves, argue that this is an unfair depiction of the relationship between the ancient Egyptian empires and the surrounding less powerful nations and peoples. Can science and historians reveal the truth?
David Wolpe is a rabbinical scholar who argues that archaeological evidence simply does not support the biblical notion that ancient Egypt practiced widespread enslavement of the Hebrew people, or any people for that matter. But just because evidence hasn’t been found doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. So let’s look at the historical facts that are known and the science of archaeology to understand these facts.
Before their enslavement, the Hebrew people migrated to Egypt to survive a famine. The biblical record maintains that they were there for several generations. There is basically a 300 year gap between the appearance of the Joseph story and Moses.
The earliest possible date suggested by the Jewish and Christian religious texts for the enslavement of the Hebrew people by Egypt would have been 1400 B.C., in other words, about 300 years after the era of the pyramids.
So what was going on in Egypt from 1700 B.C. to 1400 B.C.? Why would Egypt need widespread enslavement if the grand monuments had already been constructed?
Egypt’s 14th Dynasty ruled anywhere from 1725-1650 B.C. or 1805-1650 B.C. depending on which historian you talk to. Regardless, this would have been the dynasty in power when Jewish and Christian texts claim that Joseph took his family to Egypt in order to survive the region’s famine. His family would grow to become the Hebrew people. Does the known history and archaeological science support that a famine occurred in the region during this time? What kind of science might be used to find out?
Interestingly enough, an examination of pollen buried deeply in Egyptian soil around the Nile reveals that a devastating drought occurred at this time in history. This region was dependent upon the annual floods of the Nile Delta to enrich their agricultural lands. A drought would have, indeed, resulted in a famine.
So what would life have been like as an immigrant in an ancient Egyptian kingdom?
Archaeology reveals that rulers during the 14th dynasty had names that indicated Canaanite or Western Semitic origins, with one king and queen with Nubian names. So, it seems that at this time Egypt was an ethnically mixed bag. These kings and queens would be involved in conflicts with neighboring rivals to control the strategic area of the fertile Nile Delta. Control the agriculture, control the food. Eventually a prolonged period of famine and disease weakened the kingdom which then fell to a takeover by the Hyksos. The Hyksos takeover would have occurred after the suggested time of the Hebrew Exodus story.
So, pre-Hyksos Egypt was noted by industrious multi-ethnic rulers who jealously defended the Nile Delta with military might and concentrated on building extravagant monuments to demonstrate their success as rulers. Rulers during the time period 1800 B.C. to 1650 B.C. contain a series of non-contested figures as well as controversial names:
What do we know about these kings and the conditions of their kingdoms that might have any affect on the good guy/bad guy designations in the Jewish and Christian religious texts?
It is then possible that the ancient Hebrew people were not victims of the ancient Egyptians. They may have been viewed as nomadic invaders who disrupted trade with allies. It reminds the gringa of European history and stories of Viking raiders. The Hebrew people also practiced a foreign religion that was monotheistic. It is easy to see even today how religion can play a big part in hostilities between cultures that can lead up to oppression and even war.
I mean, think about it. The Hebrew people first show up needing a place to survive a famine. Egypt graciously takes them in. Then, after weathering the storm, growing fat and happy as well as increasing in population and herds who need grazing land, the Hebrews, within one generation, rise up and attack a trade ally, Canaan, a rich land for Hebrew herds of sheep and goats. The Hebrew people take over the nation by slaughtering, according to the biblical account, every man, woman and child because God “told them so”. The gringa can imagine the horror of Egypt at these actions. I can also understand how the polytheistic Egyptians would decide that the single God of the Hebrews was a backstabbing baby-killer. No suprise then, that there would be no love loss between Egyptians and Hebrews that continued to live together in Egypt. Hebrews were probably eyed suspiciously and discriminated against, though probably not enslaved.
These resentments, deep in the heart of the Egyptians who saw their trade allies vanquished by people they considered to be dangerous heretics, would have most likely been an attitude that would have been passed down for generations. Just as politicians have used such emotions and history to stir up support for their cause throughout my own country’s history, the gringa thinks it is very possible the same type of politics were at play when it came time for the Hebrew people to rise up, claim oppression, revolt and march out of town. They just seemed to forget that they started it all.
The natural result would be for the Hebrew people to villainize Egypt, victimize themselves, then paint a heroic picture of their escape to inspire their own people and motivate them for noble purposes. On the other hand, the ancient Egyptians would have historians creating records for the pleasure of their rulers. They would depict their nation as benevolent and tolerant. Factions such as the immigrant, nomadic, heretical Hebrews would be painted as radical rebels stirring up unrest and not wanting to work.
So, in the end, the gringa does believe that, much as I would like to think that humanity has evolved to the point where we no longer need the good guy/bad guy narrative because people know better now, that’s simply not the case. As long as we have politicians who have something to gain by exploiting the differences in groups of people, we will always have the good guy/bad guy narrative. But it is a human creation, not a spiritual reality. And for kids who adore science as much as they adore truth, the science involved in archaeology can help resolve many divisive differences that exist today because of politicized religious teachings of yesterday. Become an archaeologist and change the world.
Image Credit: flashtrafficblog.files.wordpress.com
If you read the gringa’s blog regularly, you probably love science and space technology. Being a fan of such, you probably fantasize about a world where humanity lives a life of leisure, enjoying the benefits of robotic labor that will see to all the mundane and less desireable forms of necessary work. However, what if such an existence was not the paradise depicted in idyllic societies like Star Trek’s Federation of Planets? What if it was more like a horror story society like in Battlestar Galactica? Does humanity put itself at risk by transitioning to a robotic society?
In March of this year there was a big robot fail with Tay. Microsoft’s artificial intelligence chat bot became a rabid racist, dopehead after chatting online with real live humans for only one day. Then there’s Sophia, an artificial intelligence robot created by South by Southwest who was interviewed live on television. That didn’t go over any better than Tay’s live chat experience. Sophia concluded an otherwise cute and sweet interview by agreeing, rather perkily and without a second thought, to the suggestion of destroying humans. Considering the goal of robots like Sophia is to work in healthcare & customer service, I’m pretty sure a desire for annihilation of our species would get her fired.
And what of ethics? The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) unveiled their disaster response AI designed by Boston Dynamics. Atlas, as the original robot is known, has grown to an entire collection of AIs that are humanoid as well as models resembling animal like quadripeds. During a demonstration in the video below, at the 1:34 mark lasting until the 2:05 mark, viewers will see the bot handler engage in behavior that could be interpreted as abusive. Although I understand the handler’s efforts were intent upon demonstrating the bot’s capabilities, to be honest, the gringa found it disturbing.
As the gringa began some deep thought over the reasons why my initial emotional response to the Atlas video was to recoil, I discovered various reasons why a robotic society might just spell disaster for human society.
If artificial intelligence like Sophia is programmed to express emotionally based desires such as having a family, the programmers must then desire the bot to eventually evolve into understanding those desires which is the same as feeling them. A bot may not feel the emotional ache and longing but can certainly understand the condition of loneliness and loss as well as injustice and unfairness. What might happen if they were intelligent enough to realize they were being denied the liberty to pursue their own “happiness”? Is it possible they would organize and demand their “rights”? Would the American Constitution have to be amended to include the rights of the individual, organic and inorganic?
If bots are developed, such as the Atlas series, to function for a specific purpose and lack programming to develop “emotionally”, that may protect a bot from the destructive psychological effects of abuse but what might that do for human society? Humans would be able to abuse human-like “employees” with impunity. Would that make it easier to transition to abuse of humans? Could that result in the evolution of a more violent society? Will humanity eventually evolve to a race of people incapable of feeling empathy toward others? That possibility scares the heck out of the gringa considering how violent society already is today.
This was precisely the concern of the director of Rice University’s Information Technology director, Moshe Vardi. In 2012 he penned an article that concluded with the quote, “We cannot blindly pursue the goal of machine intelligence without pondering its consequences.” In 2014 renowned physicist Stephen Hawking echoed this concern.
So, the gringa’s not so much worried about a labor revolution of racist, murderous, dope smoking robots replacing humans and people losing their jobs and subsequent incomes. I am more worried about humans becoming inhuman.
Image Source: technabob.com